The Metropolitan Council, in an effort to promote housing that’s affordable, is putting $1 million towards a land bank program that buys land for future affordable housing. Through an arrangement with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, the Council is contributing the $1 million grant to the Twin Cities Community Land Bank for land acquisition.
Land bank supports strategic investments in land for affordable housing
The TCC Land Bank is a nonprofit the Family Housing Fund launched in 2009 to promote community and neighborhood development throughout the metro area. It serves as a community lender to help government agencies, nonprofits, developers, and others to act quickly to buy properties when they become available, and sell them to developers of affordable housing.
The TCC Land Bank will use Council funds on a revolving basis, reusing the funds as it sells acquired properties and purchases new sites.
“It’s an arrangement that allows us to be strategic about investing in areas where land prices are rising and the opportunity to provide affordable housing would otherwise be lost,” said Council Chair Adam Duininck. “The TCC Land Bank is able to use lower- or no-cost funds from government and philanthropic partners to leverage additional private dollars to buy, purchase, and build affordable housing.”
To date, the TCC Land Bank has distributed more than $7 million for 12 large-site acquisitions and nearly $106 million to purchase more than 1,200 properties following foreclosure to help stabilize neighborhoods and preserve home ownership opportunities for low- and moderate-income households.
Some of the large-site acquisitions
Old Home Dairy Site, Saint Paul, for 62 affordable units at Western U Plaza
Golden Valley at 169/55, for 45 affordable units in Cornerstone Creek
House of Charity expansion in Minneapolis, for 65 affordable units
Edina near Southdale, for 39 units at 66 West Apartments for homeless youth.
“Contributing to the land bank is one more step the Council can take to help the region address the enormous gap between the need for and supply of affordable housing,” said Duininck. “Housing that’s affordable helps promote stability among families, it strengthens neighborhoods and communities, and enhances the regional economy, helping to house our working families and make them successful.”
According to a recent Council MetroStats report on affordable housing, new affordable housing production hit a record low in 2014, when the metro area added only 759 affordable housing units. That’s lower than the number of affordable units added in 2013, and the lowest total for annual production in the Council’s annual data to date.
“We need to do better than that,” said Duininck. “As a region, we can and we will."
See more information about the Twin Cities Community Land Bank. The Land Bank supports the creation of vibrant, sustainable homes, neighborhoods, and communities throughout the Twin Cities metro area.